Shillong(Meghalaya), Dec 3 : With an aim to enhance collaboration as part of the Health Department’s strategy for institutional convergence to ensure effective health service delivery in Meghalaya, a two-day Sector Meeting workshop was held on Nov 30, and Dec 1 at Moreau Institute of Integral Training (MIIT) and Eldorado Guesthouse, here .
The workshop was organized by the Department of Health & Family Welfare in collaboration with the Social Welfare Department (ICDS) and Rural-MSRLS (NRLM) of C&RD Department.
Addressing the participants at the workshop, the Principal Health Secretary, Sampath Kumar IAS said, “We are creating a decentralized system to ensure greater participation, especially among the frontline workers including ASHAs and Anganwadis and the cutting-edge level officers including BDOs Medical Officers and CDPOs to improve various health indicators as part of implementing the State Health policy frameworks”.
The Health Secretary also added that the decentralized system is a result of the past experiences of the State. One of them being when Meghalaya recorded 93% recovery of Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) and 97% recovery of Moderate Acute Malnourished (MAM) children (identified in September 2020). This was the highest recovery recorded in terms of nutritional indicators in the State so far. This case is a rare example of how collaboration between various departments, regular monitoring of target indicators, building accountability among various actors by promoting decentralized adaptive leadership and use of data for effective decision-making led to the overall strengthening of State Capacity in effectively addressing a complex challenge, like nutrition in Meghalaya.
Following up on this, the aim is to institutionalize this collaborative effort. The Sector meeting workshops aim at streamlining the sector meetings which will be taking place in 150 health facilities across the State henceforth at least once a month. Currently, the review is happening at the state level and the district level on a weekly basis. With sector meetings in place, the process will become decentralized and more people will be involved at the sector level. The grassroot as well as cutting edge functionaries from the three departments will work in a collaborative manner as part of a decentralized catalytic leadership model which has been innovated by the state. These efforts form part of Meghalaya’s State Health Policy framework implementation that was passed by the Cabinet in March 2021.
Dr. R. Tariang, DHS (MCH&FW) added that this is the first time that such a collaborative approach towards a common issue has been taken by the state, that entails a convergence of three departments- The Health & FW Welfare, Social Welfare (ICDS) and the Rural-MSRLS (NRLM) of C&RD Department. Through this workshop, the field level functionaries from various departments were brought together in an attempt to not only try and understand the problem from the grassroot perspective, but also to understand their challenges and come up with solutions and guidelines to assist them in achieving the larger goal. This will go a long way in achieving the State’s objectives towards strengthening health systems through a multidisciplinary approach.
Adding to the statement made by the Principal Health Secretary, Dr. Calvaryn Sangma, SDMHO/DIO, South Garo Hills District said that health as a subject cannot be the sole responsibility of just one department, that is, the Health Department alone, and that through a collaborative approach and with the help of sectoral convergence, every other department such as the Social Welfare, Community & Rural Development as well as the Education Department can play a crucial role in furthering developmental objectives in terms of health. He also added that the workshop was a huge learning experience, especially in terms of empowering each and every stakeholder involved in the process.
The 2nd day of the workshop also witnessed the presence of the Advisor, MoHFW, Rajani Ved, Sr. Consultant, NHM, Sonali Bhardwaj and other functionaries from the Ministry of C&RD (DAY-NRLM/NULM) as well as Population Council, Delhi. They were in the State to learn about the convergence mechanism set up by the State between NHM and DAY-NRLM/ NULM.
The two-day workshop on Sector Meetings was organized with the objective to build teamwork among the key stakeholders, enable them to synchronize their efforts and give them a first-hand experience of how they can use the Sector Meetings as a platform where they can exercise their agency in identifying their own problems, prioritize, and address them through solutions that they think are most feasible. The workshop involved presentations from State and District medical heads as well as interactive sessions and group discussion with the participants.
It may be mentioned that in Dec 2020, the State Capability Enhancement Project (SCEP) was formally launched in the State with a broad aim to better deliver different governmental programmes by activating state, district and block administration and mobilizing community leadership to tackle the most critical development challenges in the state.